On Monday, Howard Stern and his live radio talk show, The Howard Stern Show, was sued by Judith Barrigas, whose tax and personal information was broadcast live on the air.


In a wacky series of events, Stern’s show disseminated an entire conversation between Barrigas and IRS agent Jimmy Forsythe. On May 19, 2015, Forsythe called into the Howard Stern Show and, while on hold, took the call of Barrigas. This call was a roughly 45 minutes discussion about Barrigas’ tax case.

Apparently, someone at Stern’s show took Forsythe off hold, only to eavesdrop the IRS conversation. And for one reason or another, this person at the radio show decided to air the entire conversation live.

“While on the phone with Agent Forsythe, Mrs. Barrigas suddenly began to receive a barrage of text messages and phone calls from unknown callers/individuals,” reads the complaint. “The text messages were informing Mrs. Barrigas that her personal information and phone number was being aired live on The Stern Show.”

The lawsuit claims that Barrigas’ conversation can still be accessed online, and that the “outrageous violation” has resulted in difficulty finding a job, sleep deprivation, irregular eating patterns, and anxiety. She is also claiming negligence against the radio show. “The defendants breached their duty of reasonable care by broadcasting the private phone conversation between Mrs. Barrigas and the IRS on May 19, 2015, and thereby publicly disseminating private tax return and identity information of Mrs. Barrigas’s to over one million people worldwide,” says the suit.

One such case went to the Supreme Court in the past, Bartnicki v. Vopper, in which case the court took the side of the broadcaster. Read the entire complaint from Barrigas here.


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